Politics is all about optics and messaging. Given that industrialist Gautam Adani is under a cloud with the Opposition gunning for him, his dropping in at Sharad Pawar’s residence is sure to raise eyebrows, even though the proximity between the two is an open secret.
The meeting was surely not a courtesy call as it lasted nearly two hours till noon; significantly, it has come on the heels of Pawar’s recent interview wherein he opposed the demand for a JPC probe into the Hindenberg report on the Adani Group, which he believed was being “targeted”.
Pawar's meeting with Sanjay Raut
What came next – Pawar’s meeting with Sanjay Raut, a Member of Parliament of the Shiv Sena (UBT) -- added to the buzz that a political plot was unravelling. The Raut-Pawar meeting has taken place in the backdrop of the political churning that is taking place in Maharashtra with speculation about an Ajit Pawar-headed breakaway group joining the BJP dispensation in the state and the Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena making it clear that it would pull out, if any such development takes place.
In 2014, too, Adani had played a behind-the-scene role in helping the BJP form the government. Both Adani and Pawar were tight lipped about their meeting.
State politicians are watching with bated breath for the Supreme Court verdict on the disqualification of Shinde group legislators, which is expected any day now. Apparently, Adani has been roped in by the BJP to ensure that it continues to remain in office, whatever the SC verdict. That Sharad Pawar is a bridge that has to be crossed if new equations have to form, is no big secret.
Mahua Moitra slams Pawar's meeting with Gautam Adani
Curiously, hours after Pawar met Adani, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra made a telling remark -- that no politician should meet the billionaire until the central government takes action against his group. She further said: “I have no fear in taking on the Great Marathas. Can only hope they have the good sense to put country before old relationships. And, no, my tweet is not anti-opposition unity. Rather it is pro-public interest.”
In another tweet, Moitra claimed Adani had tried to reach out to her and a few others as well, but she had nothing to discuss with him. “Adani tried utmost to get to me & few others through his friends/wheeler-dealers. He couldn’t even find the door, let alone get past it. I have nothing to discuss on 1:1 basis with Adani.”
Adani-Pawar meeting hiccup for MVA combine
For the MVA combine, the Adani-Pawar meeting is a major hiccup. Already, the grouping is nagged by Pawar’s stand on the JPC. Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said his party will not flinch from its stand for a JPC probe. “Who meets who is their prerogative: we don’t have any say in that. We can only speak about the demands that our party has raised. I can certainly say that our party is firm on the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the Hindenburg report. We haven’t diluted our demand,” Chavan said.
Pawar, of course, is known to have friends in all parties. He recently joined hands with the BJP in propping the Nagaland government. The NCP is also contesting several seats in Karnataka which will help cut into anti-BJP votes.
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